Othlo of Sankt Emmeram
OTHLO OF SANKT EMMERAM
Benedictine scholar; b. near Freising, Germany c. 1010; d. Sankt Emmeram Abbey, Regensburg, Nov. 23, c. 1070. A precocious child, Othlo received his early education at tegernsee and hersfeld abbeys. Finding the secular clerical life unsatisfactory, he entered sanktemmeram in 1032. A sensitive, gifted, and imaginative monk, Othlo experienced various spiritual trials and worried especially about his enthusiasm for classical literature. Such concern reveals the early influence of those cluniac reform ideals that led him into serious patristic and scriptural studies. At Sankt Emmeram, where he taught william of hirsau, he was encouraged to write. His first major composition, the De doctrina spirituali, was a long poetic exhortation to virtue, with criticism of pagan classical studies. His Dialogus de tribus quaestionibus (c. 1053) expounds various theological themes: it rests on St. Augustine and attacks the new dialectical approach to theology.
Because of disagreements that he had with the bishop of Regensburg, Othlo left Sankt Emmeram and lived at fulda (1062–66), where he composed a biography of St. boniface and probably the life of St. wolfgang of regensburg, the Liber visionum, describing divine manifestations including some he himself received, and the Libellus manualis, a powerful harangue to clergy and laity to reform and return to proper respect for religion—a realistic commentary on the age. At Fulda he also began the Proverbia (ed. C. G. Korfmacher, Chicago 1936), an extensive collection of memorable sayings culled for pedagogical purposes from Christian and classical sources. Leaving Fulda, Othlo visited Amorbach Abbey, where he wrote the Quomodo legendum sit in rebus visibilibus, on Christian education. Having returned to Sankt Emmeram (c. 1068) and feeling the weight of years, Othlo composed the De cursu spirituali, a homiletic work using St. Paul's figure of speech. It displays a thorough familiarity with Scripture and skill in the allegorical method of exegesis. His final work, the Libellus de suis temptationibus, varia fortuna et scriptis, is autobiographical. Among Othlo's minor works, difficult to date, are lives of SS. alto, Nicholas, and Magnus, some religious poetry, sermons, and his puzzling Translatio s. Dionysii. He also produced counterfeit charters on behalf of Sankt Emmeram.
Bibliography: Works. Patrologia latina (Paris 1878–90) 146:9–434. Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Poetae (Berlin 1926–) 4:521–542; 11:376–393; 15.2:843–846; 30.2:823–837. Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores rerum Germanicarum (ibid.) 53:111–217. Acta Sanctorum Nov. 2:565–597. Literature. m. manitius, Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters (Munich 1911–31) 2:83–103. g. misch, Geschichte der Autobiographie (3d ed. Bern 1949—) 3.1:57–107. b. bischoff, Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters 3:658–670; 5:831; Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche (Freiburg 1957–65) 7:1298–99.
[r. h. schmandt]